Sunday, September 28, 2014

Objec Vs Var Vs Dynamic


All the objects (value and referenced types) in managed environment are directly or indirectly inherit from System.Object. With this inheritance in place, a variable of System.Object can hold instance of any type.

However compiler will allow to call only those methods /properties which exists in System.Object type. 
In other words compiler will not allow you to call CreateNode property from obj. The only way to access the CreateNode() is to typecast it into XmlDocument type. 
E.g. System.Xml.XmlDocument xDoc = new System.Xml.XmlDocument();
            object obj = xDoc;

a.      Though variable of System.Object type can hold the reference of any type, compiler will ensure the type safety. If type casting is happening, compiler will emit the code to validate the type safety during runtime.
b.      Assigning the value type to a variable of System.Object will suffer from Boxing / Unboxing.

Var Keyword

The var keyword was introduced in C# 3.0. It was primarily introduced to support the notion of anonymous types.
var is resolved at the compile time, i.e., the actual type is resolved by the compiler during the compile time. Hence it provides same type safety as using normal typed variable.

a.      var is a compile time feature resolved to a valid underlying type. Due to this, compiler enforces you to assign a value during the declaration so it can infer the actual type.
b.      Since var is resolved to a valid type during compilation, compiler will enforce all type safety and code will not suffer from boxing / unboxing.


dynamic keyword was introduced with C# 4.0. When you define a variable of type dynamic, compiler internally performs two steps. The first thing compiler does is, it converts the type to System.Object and then it postpones all the type validation to the runtime.

1.      During compilation time, dynamic is converted to System.Object and compiler will emit the code for type safety during runtime.
2.      As dynamic is treated as System.Object, it suffers from boxing / unboxing similar to System.Object.
3.      Since compiler emits the code for all the type safety, application’s performance will suffer.
dynamic was introduced only to simplify the access to the COM APIs.

To put it as simple as possible, there is a simple difference between the C# ‘var’ and ‘dynamic’ keyword. When using the ‘var’ keyword, the type is decided by the compiler at compile time, whereas when using the ‘dynamic’ keyword, the type is decided by the runtime.

C# is a statically typed language and the ‘dynamic' type automatically tells the compiler that it is a dynamic invocation, so ignore the compile time checking for this type. This also means that any invalid operations will only be detected at runtime.

E.g. Consider following example
var emp = new Employee();
In this case, i.e. when you are using the ‘var’ keyword, the type is statically inferred. So the line of code evaluates as
Employee emp = new Employee();
The compiler will check to see if a AddEmployee () method exists, if not, fail the compilation.

Consider following case
dynamic emp = new Employee();
Using the ‘dynamic’ type does not make it type-safe, hence the compiler is bypassed and the compiler does not check if the AddEmployee () method exists.

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